With Singapore serving as the subject of exploration, The Hard State, Soft City of Singapore explores the purview of imaginative representations of the city. Alongside the physical structures and associated practices that make up our lived environment, and conceptualized space engineered into material form by bureaucrats, experts and commercial interests, a perceptual layer of space is conjured out of people’s everyday life experiences. While such imaginative projections may not be as tangible as its functional designations, they are nonetheless equally vital and palpable. The richness of its inhabitants’ memories, aspirations and meaningful interpretations challenges the reduction of Singapore as a Generic City. Taking the imaginative field as the point of departure, the forms and modes of intellectual and creative articulations of Singapore’s urban condition probe the resilience of cities and the people who reside in them, through the images they convey or evoke as a means for collective expressions of human agency in placemaking.
Simone Shu-Yeng Chung is Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. She holds a Ph.D. in Architecture and a M.Phil. in Screen Media and Cultures from the University of Cambridge and has practiced as an architect in the UK.
Mike Douglass is Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning, University of Hawaii. At the National University of Singapore (2012-2018), he was a Professor at the Asia Research Institute. His research includes globalization and the city, progressive cities, creative communities, and environmental disasters.